The Malaysians tore apart their opponents' defence as they climbed into the top half of the S.League table with victory
|FROM PASIR GUDANG STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
Harimau Muda recorded their biggest win of the season as they ripped apart Tanjong Pagar United 3-0 on Tuesday afternoon at home.
Two penalties were awarded to the hosts, both of which were brilliantly converted by Ridzuan Abdunloh. Maxsius Musa then completed the rout after sliding in to make contact with Iskandar Hanapiah’s freekick.
The sweltering heat was obviously showing no mercy to the Jaguars, whom did not seem like winning this game from the start despite having the lion’s share of possession in the first half. This was not helped by a nervy showing from reserve goalkeeper Shamsudin Hashim, who stood in for the suspended Aurelien Herisson. Shamsudin showed moments of uncertainty before the first penalty was awarded, failing to claim an easy corner as early as the fourth minute and fumbling on at least three more occassions.
It was Shamsudin who palmed another corner away from his goal in the 36th minute, with the ball landing right in the path of a Harimau player, who then proceeded to unleash a shot that came off K. Vikraman’s arm. The referee whistled for a spot-kick without hesitation.
Ridzuan confidently stepped up to send the ball onto the roof of the net despite Shamsudin guessing the right way, and the home side entered the break with the lead.
The second half saw coach Patrick Vallee pushing Kamel Ramdani into midfield to support a four-man attack of Ismael Benahmed, Monsef Zerka, Hafiz Nor and substitute Asraf Rashid.
Barely two minutes into the second half, Vikraman was guilty of tripping Iskandar in the penalty box as the latter burst inside. Another penalty, signalled the referee.
Ridzuan once again rose to the occasion with confidence, sending the ball down the middle as the goalkeeper went left.
Iskandar was involved yet again 10 minutes later for the third goal, as the 20-year-old whipped in a delightful ball towards the far post from the left flank. Maxsius, who made his run from outside the penalty box, stretched every vein in his leg to connect with the looping ball, sending it into the net to craft a three-goal lead for the Malaysians.
As the game progressed, no less than three Harimau players were stretchered off the field for treatment, much to the dislike of the Jaguars faithful.
With only three minutes of game left, Akhir Bakari then had a glorious chance to extend the lead but his placed shot could only find the upright.
The Malaysians had no problem seeing out the game for their fifth win of the season, which sees them climb into the top half of the table in sixth.